Are you ready for takeoff? You have thought of sunscreen, hat and jersey. But what about your prescription drugs? Unfortunately, your big and small evils do not take holidays. Some tips will help you enjoy your trip in peace.
Some general principles to approach the departure
You dreamed of this trip for a long time. Taking prescription medications should not stop you from savoring beautiful moments abroad! However, some precautions will save you a lot of trouble.
The transport of drugs is regulated worldwide. However, each country has its own rules. It is therefore important to learn about the regulations in force in the country visited before leaving.
In general, it is recommended to:
- Carry your medications in your carry-on, in their original container with the label of your pharmacy.
- Do not mix several drugs in the same container, unless it is a pillbox.
- Make sure your name is spelled the same on the pharmacy label as on your passport.
- Make sure the name of the pharmacy and the generic or commercial name of the drug are on the label.
- Provide a sufficient amount of medication for the duration of the trip and even a little more, to mitigate any delays in returning home.
- Ask your pharmacist to print a complete and up-to-date list of your medications.
- See your airline’s website for more information on regulations regarding the transportation of prescription drugs or medical supplies.
If you are taking any unusual medicines or using medical supplies (syringes, needles, blood glucose meters, etc.), check with the country’s embassy or consulate if they are allowed at your destination. Also, ask your health professional to write a letter stating that you are using them for medical purposes only.
Finally, do not buy any medicine outside of Canada unless a health professional recommends it because there are many counterfeit medicines. In addition, some drugs sold legally abroad may not meet Canadian standards and may cause difficulties for Customs.
Traveling to our neighbors in the South
If you travel to the United States, the laws and regulations in force in that country may apply. In general, the doctor’s prescription suffices as an explanatory document if the duration of your stay is less than or equal to the duration of your prescription.
A sufficient amount of medication for a stay of ninety days is allowed. Some classes of drugs are an exception; a limited quantity sufficient for a period of thirty days may be accepted at the customs office. Before you leave, check with your pharmacist what conditions apply in your case.
Traveling with medical supplies
Note that the limit of two carry-on bags does not apply to medical supplies and equipment or mobility aids.
If you have an ostomy, your medical supplies can be stored in your carry-on. They will, however, be subject to control. To facilitate this process, have a doctor’s note on hand and notify the Customs Control Officer that you have had an ostomy.
If you have a medical prosthesis, artificial limb, pacemaker or walking aid, you should inform the control personnel and flight attendants. Having medical documentation on hand will make things as easy for you as it is for the staff.
If you are taking insulin or any other medicine that requires the use of syringes and needles, bring an explanatory note from your doctor or a medical certificate. It can be difficult to get needles and syringes abroad. Plan for an adequate amount of these supplies, depending on the length of your stay.